The Farmer’s favourite apple tree is over 150 years old, it is also falling down. Word got out that we were learning how to graft trees and Craig and I were recruited to save the old tree, or at least graft some of the branches onto new root stock, so that the Farmer and his family could still enjoy the fruits for generations to come. It also gave us a chance to practice fruit tree grafting for real and pass on some skills.Having obtained some M25 root stock (which in itself is a long story that I wont go into here), we decided to earth up some of the stock to increase the root stock supply for future years and graft with the best single stemmed stock now.
The old apple tree looks a little sad; it can indeed be swayed from side to side with a gentle shove.
As with all old trees new growth was difficult to find. We were looking for last year’s growth that was disease free. With the Forester’s help (he quickly climbed the tree, when I exclaimed that I was finding it difficult to see some nice potential scions from ground level) I was soon holding a handful of twigs and ready to get grafting.
Whip and tongue grafting proved a bit more difficult than in my training sessions, everything was thinner apart from my new groovy grafting knife whose blade is thicker! This meant knife accuracy was imperative. Time will tell whether the grafting has been successful, hopefully the old tree will stay standing until we find out. At least now the Farmer knows how it is done. I must remember to tell the Farmer to take off the plastic graft bandage before mid summer, so that it doesn’t strangle the new growth…The Farmer expertly planted the grafted trees in a sheltered spot and offered us a tour of the farm. With lambing well under way we couldn’t resist a walk to check on the ewes.
Jinsy and the Farmer certainly have a beautiful farm with views to match. If you are ever looking for self-catering accommodation on a working farm, theirs would certainly be a great place to stay.
Many thanks to you both for a lovely afternoon.